A 29-year-old man charged with the slaying of a 67-year-old resort clerk who died one day after being beaten and robbed was in court Thursday, facing witnesses in the case.
Brian Lefler has pleaded not guilty to murder and other felonies. The charges carry a maximum of 25 years to life in prison. Lefler has three prior felony convictions.
A 911 recording was played back during the preliminary hearing on Thursday. Lefler listened on as the victim described the what happened.
"What did he do to you, he beat you?" asks the 911 operator.
"Yeah ... he got me somehow, hit me on the shoulder and hit me in the face, and had me lay on the ground," victim Barbara Novelich can be heard saying.
Novelich was found dead on her boat in November 2008. Novelich was working as a clerk at the Tamarack Beach Resort two nights before when a man demanding money punched her in the face and stole her car, according to investigators.
Novelich refused medical treatment from authorities after the assault, but friends said her son took her to a hospital the morning after the attack. Prosecutors said Novelich was treated for a fractured eyebone, cheekbone and sinus cavity and was released. The next morning, her body was discovered aboard the boat on which she lived in north Oceanside Harbor.